.........MUTANT RAIN FOREST ISSUE........JUNE, 2016
Illustrations above by Shasta Lawton.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

MONKEY MAN

by Johnny Strike







      How much time had passed I didn’t know, but I woke up with a headache that included a feeling as though my eyeballs were being consumed by a raging blue fire. I was somewhere out in the country. I was sitting on dirt ground, my wrists tied too tightly behind me to a pole. My legs likewise tied as well to another pole. I was in an enclosed area with cement walls so high that even if I could get loose, climbing the walls without the proper gear would be impossible. My confidence had turned to paralyzing fear, much like when I’d been captured in the cage. A monkey was standing before me chattering. He showed his yellow teeth. He made frantic gestures. Was this the prelude to some hideous torture I’d not even imagined? The monkey continued to chatter while he untied me. 

      Relieved, I rubbed circulation into my extremities. I got to my feet, wobbly at first, still rubbing. My monkey rescuer jumped up and down. Pulling at my pant leg, he led me to a far corner where two other monkeys stood guard. I saw that they’d made crude steps with mud and some stones nearly to the top. Up I went. At the top I could see the living quarters of my captors, a ramshackle house, smoke from a cooking shaft, and a shed nearby. The smell of meat and onions was in the air. It was still a dangerous jump down to freedom. I found one of the monkeys by my side handing me a thick vine. I took it, tugged at it, and found it securely attached to a tall tree at the wood's edge. So, once again, somehow overriding my fear of heights, I, Johnny Tarzan, swung through the air. At what seemed the right time I let go, grabbing onto that tree. Although I had a rough moment with a partial slip, I got a grip and made my way down.
       

     Rather than trekking off to God knows where, and likely being tracked (with no weapon), I crept back closer to watch the house. From this angle I could see there were three of them, Sati, his hand bandaged, as well as the two cousins. All of them eventually sat around a table together for what I assumed was supper. In the shed I found some items to help me, a child’s red wagon, (one wheel loose, off-balanced), a shovel, a can with some gasoline, an empty beer keg, some paint aerosol cans, matches, some moldy newspaper, all of which I arranged carefully in the wagon, even a couple of empty flour sacks. I poured the gas into the keg, attached a handmade paper/twine fuse. Moving with the shadows I pulled the wagon around front where the door was propped open to catch some breeze. They had it loosely draped with mosquito netting too. I lit the fuse and shoved the crazy wagon in. The damn thing misbehaved from the start, going up in flames, then lifting off the ground, flying into the front room like something supernatural. An especially loud WHOOSH, WHOOSH. I jumped back fearing an explosion, but it didn’t happen. Inside a fire raged, someone screamed, followed by KA-BOOM, KA-BOOM, a decent double explosion that was enough to affect my hearing. All three came out fast, Sati tumbling, partially on fire, rolling around on the ground, attended to by a cousin who didn’t see the shovel coming that knocked him out. But, it broke off as well, so using the technique of cane fighting, I jabbed and pulled with the other cousin who’d come up with the fantastic weapon of a club with metal spikes. He swung and missed. I kicked dirt into his face, then kicked him in the nut sack. He fell in misery, blind, holding his balls.
       

     Sati had gotten the fire out and jumped to his feet, his face charred, blackened, but gloating, because now he was holding a .357 Magnum, trigger cocked. The moonlight played over his evil expression. I thought glumly, ‘Well, it had to end sometime.’ A shot rang out, then another. Sati had been shot in the chest and the forehead. I turned to see Adja coming out of some brush cradling a rifle with a telescopic lens.
       

     What would you do without me, Lance?”
       
     One cousin got up, still blinded. A poke/pull to the gut with the shovel handle produced an OOF. I threw the handle to the side, knocking him out with an old fashioned left/right combination. He toppled back into the dust with a stupid, bloody face.
       
     “Or them,” I said to Adja, gesturing over to the three monkeys who looked like they were practicing the hear no, see no, speak no evil signs. They made noises that I took to be a kind of laughter. Then they all clapped. I told her about them helping me. She looked amazed.
       

     “I’ve heard other stories like that. Leave it to you to bring it to light. You must be an animal mystic too. And luckily, my dear, I’ve had you followed. The chip you’ve been carrying in your belt buckle got us close enough.” Her dad, wearing all khaki, a pith helmet, and the expression of some misguided safari director, emerged from the woods at a different point, cradling his rifle. 

     He stopped to put a bullet in the head of the one I’d knocked out and another into the other one who was again trying to get to his feet. I was startled at the cold-blooded action, but then I considered what I would have had in store from this nasty trio. Pops squatted and called to the monkeys, making a chattering noise very similar to theirs. They gathered around him, pulling on his sleeve. He handed out dried fruit, snacks, and some candy from his backpack.





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1 comment:

  1. This mysterious realm in the deep forest where monkeys hold sway over those who enter the wilderness is a fascinating eyewitness account. No doubt without their assistance the protagonist would have met his end. Such complexities in this dramatic tale make for a good read by the fireplace. I hope this author can craft some equally thrilling stories as this one.

    ReplyDelete

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